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'Soaring Beyond the Self' Inauguration by Renuka Sondhi Gulati at Kalakrithi

Existence in the multiple spheres and their skilful juggling like a clever goddess make a contemporary woman relevant unto herself and to the rest of the world. Thus, a woman in the contemporary world is expected to hold, analyze, understand and act upon her own life instead brooding over the lost chances and bygone opportunities. In such a life whatever she creates becomes an expression of her own freedom as well as a model of freedom that the women around her could emulate. Looking at the present body of works by Renuka Sondhi Gulati, as an art critic who has written on her works earlier, one could definitely say that she has become a person who has successfully fused the public and private selves into one. In these works one could see the vigorous negotiations between spaces, a critique on the technological and emotional submission of women by the socio-economic forces, the external spaces of self-assertion and the internal spaces of contemplation and reconciliation.

Delhi based artist, Renuka Sondhi Gulati paints to exist and sculpts to underline her existence. Her works vivify the journey of a woman from birth to death under going all the pangs of ageing and feeling all the bliss of maturity, and captures how a woman becomes a multitask person when she exists within the society, family and above all in history.

Well-known Painter & Sculptor, has been selected at National & International level, has had 9 solo's and participated in 39 Group Shows and received 14 awards. Recently she is been awarded with the “Gurugram Gaurav Samman Award” for Exemplary Work done by her for propagating awareness in the field of visual arts among masses”. She has also presented her sculpture to The President of India in a function of Global Clubfoot Conference at Vigyan Bhawan on 1st Nov 2017.”

The exhibition is formally inaugurated by Shri S.K. Joshi, IAS, Chief Secretary, Telangana and Former union minister Jesudasu Seelam in the presence of various senior Govt officers at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Road no 10, Banjara Hills on 7th April 2018 and will be on every day from 11am to 7pm till April 17, 2018.. The exhibition at Kalakriti adds another link in the chain of cultural exchanges between Haryana and Telangana.

While Renuka as an artist employs the image of an eagle as a symbol of feminine freedom, ambition and ability to fly high, she very skillfully brings forth her own self as well as a surrogate self and attributes them with a sort of iconic nature. Eagle is a bird that could soar high up in the sky and also see its preys down. Eagles do prey as they float in the air but there are times they simply move like idle beings and in the very flotation itself they find their happiness. Here in Renuka’s painting we see an eagle as the paraphrasing of the artistic self and interestingly one of the works where we find the eagle imagery quite dominant is titled ‘Let Me be Free’. ‘Soaring High Through Her Vision’ is another work where the presence of a neck scarf worn by young executives in the job sector makes the newer roles of women in the contemporary society. Perhaps they are tied down by the noose around their necks as the jobs demand but they have all the freedom to fly high using their newly found economic and social freedom.

The two works that almost appear as the manifesto of the artist are titled as ‘In My Dreams’ and ‘My Roots in My Country’. As mentioned earlier, the protagonists are in a creative slumber. In the former work, the female protagonist is on a happy structure which no longer has the pain of the bed of arrows as experienced by Bheeshma in Mahabharata. Sleeping among the clouds, like the Lake District Poet, she sees the vision of creations with eyes closed. The same contentment and happy face we witness in the latter work where the woman is seen sleeping under a Banyan tree, depicts the tree of enlightenment. What makes this work interestingly intriguing and specifically bold is the artist’s daring to make her protagonist sleep under the Banyan tree, snatching the right to enlightenment from the male hands and also daring to sleep under a tree like a mendicant devoid of the fear of theft or molestation. It is a sort of reclaiming the spaces for herself and for all the women in the world.

Taking a cue from the changing times and the moods of the country, Renuka has emphasized her love for the mother land. According to the artist, the empowerment of the country has a lot to do with the empowerment of women and she is ready to go by the present day mainstream discourse of patriotism and she does find it as a morale booster for the artist in her. In the sculptures, she emphasizes how important it is to believe in the ideological apparatuses like family and society and to conform with the given. She affirms her indebtedness to her country and family and celebrates it in her works uncritically. Onlookers could resort to the poetic understanding of her works through willing suspension of disbelief, and Renuka Sondhi Gulati is an artist of our times who would stand for the country and the family, come whatever may.

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